Research/studies Transportation

NIOSH announces focus on motor vehicle incidents


Chicago – Motor vehicle incidents are the leading cause of worker fatalities, and NIOSH Director John Howard said it is time to “unravel” the excuses and contributing factors that allow the trend to continue.

Speaking during the Occupational Keynote at the 2013 NSC Congress & Expo, Howard said NIOSH has launched the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety to help reduce motor vehicle fatalities – 17,000 of which occurred from 2003 to 2011.

Motor vehicle crashes have been the top cause of fatalities since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting the data, according to Howard. "I think that has led us to ignore them," he said.

The center currently is focused on truck drivers, and also will address workers who are at high risk even though their primary job is not driving, such as those in oil and gas extraction, emergency response, law enforcement, and highway construction. Projects include conducting a survey of long-haul truckers and working with manufacturers to improve the design of truck cabs.

OSHA administrator David Michaels was unable to attend the keynote because of the government shutdown. In Michael's absence, Howard highlighted OSHA's new proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica, calling it an important rulemaking for workers in many industries.